When legends of the Nigerian movie industry are being called, Iya Rainbow is definitely to be up there. With over 45 years in the Nigerian movie industry and several appearances in loads of movies, Iya Rainbow is one of the prolific Nollywood actresses. For the uninitiated, here are 7 things you need to know about Iya rainbow:
Her real name is actually Idowu Phillips. Her late husband, Ayanfemi Phillips founded a theatre group, ‘Osumare Theater Group’ and was called ‘Baba Osumare’. People started calling her ‘Mama Osumare’ too when she started acting. She was crying one day on the set of an English film and some Igbo boys came to comfort her, but they couldn’t pronounce ‘Osumare’. She told them that it meant rainbow and they started calling her ‘Mama Rainbow’ – that’s how she got her stage name.
Iya Rainbow was born on October 16, 1942 and just turned 77. She had a surprise party thrown for her 77th birthday and a lot of Nollywood stars were there to celebrate with her.
She got into acting thanks to her husband who encouraged her to pick up the art. She fully started acting in 1986 after she retired from nursing. She was encouraged to continue by the late Hubert Ogunde, who was like a father to her after the death of her husband.
Aside from acting, Iya Rainbow runs a real estate business. She inherited the business from the late Alade Aromire, another popular actor, who she used to work with.
Before Iya Rainbow started acting, she used to be a nurse, working in different General Hospitals. She retired from nursing after 20 years of service.
Remember that Airtel advert where a mother was praying for her son throughout the day? That’s Iya Rainbow! She is a brand ambassador for Airtel.
Iya Rainbow had her early education in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State before going to Nursing school after senior secondary school.
Although 77 years old, Iya Rainbow is still very active in the industry and still giving us top-notch acting that we’ll hopefully still get to see more of for years to come.